Sunday, May 22, 2011

After The Raptor

Monrovia, California

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If you're reading this, chances are good that, like me, you weren't taken up into heaven in the Rapture on May 21, 2011, unless heaven is far different from what I conceive it to be, which is very possible. Nor were you swallowed into the bowels of the earth in the gigantic earthquake that rent asunder the crust of the planet.

I am happy to know that you're still here, because even if there are trials to come, say for the next five months--plagues, famine, pestilence--it'll be good to be in the company of friends while we rue the day our mothers brought us forth into this bitter vale of tears. Ruing always goes down better in company, although it can lead to some real mischief, too, as in the period of mass ruing that led to the rise of National Socialism in Germany. But hey, we've only got five months, so how bad can it get? Well, in the words of Clemenza in The Godfather, "Pretty goddamn bad. Probably all the other families will line up against us...." But I digress.

This guy Harold Camping, who had some people in a tizzy, now says the real end of the world won't come for five months, on October 21, 2011. Well, duh. Even amateur eschatologists know that the Rapture, when the dead in Christ rise and then the living who are saved go up into the clouds to join them, has to be followed by some sort of Tribulation, i.e., bad shit for all who remain. After that things get muddy, and time lines and predictions of specific results often vary widely and wildly, depending on whether you're a Dispensationalist Premillennialist, an Amillennialist, a Two-seed-in-the spirit Predestinarian, or whatever. My question to Camping is this: how do you know the Rapture didn't take place last Saturday, May 21, 2011, and the dead in Christ weren't taken up along with all the living who were worthy of going straight to heaven? Just because you didn't go? That's rather presumptuous. Have you checked inside any graves lately? Maybe the number of souls, living and dead, who get to go straight to heaven in the Rapture is so tiny in relation to the world's total historical population (say 144,000) that you didn't notice. One thing we do know, at least, Harold Camping, is that your sorry ass is still here, along with ours.

By the way, the word "rapture" comes from the same Latin root as the word "raptor." It has to do with being "taken up," the same way a giant predatory bird, or perhaps a dinosaur, takes up its prey in its talons. And metaphorically speaking, I suppose getting taken in by someone or some idea is quite a similar concept. We give our "rapt" attention when we are absolutely taken by what is being said or who is saying it. Same root word.

When one of my daughters was a little girl she went to Sunday school with a girlfriend of hers and saw a picture of an angel, wings spread, which had a profound effect on her. The impression she got was that if you went to that church, a giant bird would come and grab you and take you away. How far off was she, I wonder? Taken up, taken for a ride, taken in.

By which I don't mean to ignore my man on the streets of Hollywood, the Only Begotten Son of God, whose predictions haven't had a chance to play out yet. And let's face it, Hollywood usually does have the last word in these matters.

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